George Terry was a trailblazer.
At the fifth Central American & Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1946, the distance rider created history by winning Trinidad & Tobago’s first-ever cycling medal at a major international meeting. He captured a silver medal in a close finish in the gruelling 100-km race and a bronze medal a few days later in the team pursuit.
Terry won 114 races in a sterling 13-year career that ended in 1952 with him capturing the two-way Port-of-Spain to Fernando event in three hours.
Migrating to the Greater Toronto Area in 1968, he worked as a maintenance mechanic in Hamilton before retirement. The twin-island republic Hall of Famer passed away eight years ago at age 87 and his body was returned to San Fernando for interment.
To commemorate his legacy, Terry’s four children – Edwin, Justin, Brenda Sarjeant and Carol Jones – donated the George Terry Cup in 2007 that’s awarded to the winner of the Ontario Cycling Association’s annual Tour of University Heights Race in the Jane & Finch community. Kids in the Malvern area also compete in a summer race for a cup in Terry’s name.
Three years ago, the Terry Family collaborated with Seneca College to award community scholarships in his name.
“Our father was very giving and we think it’s important that we keep that tradition alive,” said Edwin Terry, who recently retired from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) after 36 years as a broadcast technician.
“He left a very good job as a diesel engineer in the Trinidad oil fields to come to Canada and give his children a better life. It was hard for him starting over in a new country and facing all the obstacles that newcomers encountered. However, he persevered and we are doing well because of the sacrifices he and our mother made. He was a good father and we were blessed to have him in our lives.”
At Seneca’s College Opportunities Program Awards last week, the George Terry Memorial bursary was presented to Justin Franczuz. He’s a fourth-year student in the Financial Services Management program.